Saturday, May 31, 2014

on babies, teaching and tenure

The past few months have been challenging.  Being back at work has been harder than I anticipated, mostly because of the "no sleep" thing but also because I've been teaching part of an off-campus immersion term.  I was supposed to be in residence for several weeks as the faculty member in charge; this worked ok until the weather got warm, and then we had a baby who wouldn't sleep in the heat (no AC on site) and we had to move back home (it's within commuting distance of our normal campus).  I will say this: kudos to you single moms, I did it mostly on my own for two weeks and it almost broke me.  Apparently the 1-2 extra hours of sleep I get when Partner takes the baby in the morning are really make-or-break.

I am very lucky to have really flexible and understanding colleagues working with me - they were very accepting of stuff I had to miss like field trips and some class days, and they were ok with finding a solution when I couldn't stay on site any more.  I had a very hard time coming to that conclusion, though, and it took a) Partner coming out to see us and observing that I was a total mess and not functioning on my own, and b) a terrible night when it was hot and baby wouldn't sleep and everything was mentally pretty bad for me, before I finally gave in and told my colleagues I couldn't make it work.  I have done such a shitty job in general this term, with my sleep-deprived, no-time-to-prep crappy course, that I didn't want to fail at yet another thing that I said I would do.  But also I am the only female who has ever worked on this program and it's my first time doing it, so part of me really didn't want to fail and fulfill some stereotypical "women are weak and working moms are worse" image.  If anything, I have gotten a lot of "good for you for trying to do this with a baby" comments from everyone, so I have no reason to assume that this is what people were thinking, but being postpartum has made me all anxious and emotional and self-conscious about work-baby balance.

So, we made it through, and now we have a few months before I have to try to be a full-time working mom again, for which I am grateful.  If we can be sleeping by then, I think it will be easier, but I'm afraid to have any hope on that count. 

Also in recent news, I received notification that I am being recommended for TENURE, which is something I hadn't worried too much about lately and yet is still a huge weight lifted.  One of my colleagues on this immersion term was also on my tenure committee, so a little voice in the back of my head has been panicking specifically over his observations of my terrible recent work.  I think he is probably one of the most sympathetic of my colleagues when it comes to work-family balance, so I don't know why I insist on the anxiety, but it was definitely there.

And, as usual, baby sleep is a dominating theme.  We finally have a nap schedule established, or at least a normal awake time between sleeps.  Kiddo is currently messing with me by occasionally sleeping 3 hours at the beginning of the night instead of 2, so at the moment I am waiting for the wake up instead of going to bed, but I have been waiting longer than I expected.  So now I have temporary visions of tonight being the night we do 4 or 5 hours - I should just go to sleep, who knows what could happen!?  And I'm sure I'll see her wiggling any minute now, destroying those dreams.  I really need to figure out how to get dinner/shower/work/pumping done before I put her down, so I can get this longer chunk of sleep too.  

1 comment:

Alyssa said...

Ugh...lack of sleep sucks!! I hope it gets better soon.

But, CONGRATS on being recommended for TENURE!!